All posts tagged: greekgirl

Baklava

Everyone knows BAKLAVA. Layers of flaky phyllo pastry blanketed with ground nuts plus plenty of spice (and everything nice), soaked in a sweet honey syrup. Many consider baklava as the gold standard of Greek desserts. I’m not sure if this constitutes a mortal sin against Greek culture but I will say it anyway: I’m not the biggest fan of baklava. I do like lamb though, so hopefully that admission keeps my credibility up. At one point, I honestly considered not including a recipe for baklava on my blog. But then Zeus and his immortal pals conspired to change my mind. Two things happened in one week. I told my Yiayia Saltas, quite casually, that one of my clients wanted to learn how to make baklava. The next day she shows up with her own baklava recipe, handwritten just for me. That same day, I scanned through my late Yiayia Metos’ recipe book for a dinner recipe. Her recipe book is a treasure trove my mom and I hold onto. Many of her recipes, from desserts to main …

Greek Coffee

Long before all the drive through coffee stands and the Grande caramel macchiato, there was elliniko kafe (Greek coffee). Made by boiling coffee grounds in a copper or brass briki (coffee pot) until the perfect kaimaki (foam) forms, Greek coffee is then poured into a white demitasse (small cup). It’s simple as that. The next step is to sip slowly, until you reach the bottom of the cup where the coffee grounds have settled. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your Greek coffee for hours on end at the nearest kafeneio (coffee house) with friends or in the comfort of your own home. Greek coffee is best served with a glass of cold water, and some sweet Greek cookies, such as koulourakia to dunk with. What you need: Demitasse Water Greek Coffee Briki Sugar (optional) Directions: 1. To measure, fill your demitasse cup up with cold water and pour into the briki or small pot. 2. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of Greek coffee into the briki. Add the appropriate amount of sugar for the type of …

Bakaliaros Skordalia (Cod & Garlic Dip)

My entire house has smelled like a McDonald’s deep fryer for an entire week. Fried oil has seeped into the carpets and walls, and has stubbornly clung to mine and my family’s clothes. It’s actually been a pleasant change of pace from the typical scent of a wet dog. The culprit behind the oil stench is my mistake of opening up any windows to get some fresh air while frying up a traditional dish. March 25th is a double national holiday of Greece, marking a special day of both religious and political events. It’s a spiritual day dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of the Theotokos, when the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a child. It’s also a day that marks the start of the War of Greek Independence when the Greeks demanded their independence after living in centuries under the Ottoman Empire. It’s a day of joyous gatherings and celebration. On March 25th, Greeks will fill the streets for parades to celebrate the historic day and blue …

Kourabiedes (Greek butter cookies)

Kourabiedes are popular Greek butter cookies topped with heaps of powdered sugar and made for special occasions like weddings, Christmas, name days, and any day that ends in “y”. My earliest memories of kourabiedes aren’t the sweet taste of the cookie. In fact, I don’t even remember taking a bite out of one when I was younger. Instead, my favorite memories come from turning wide-eyed at the wonderful white mounds of kourabiedes on display at both my Yiayia Metos and Yiayia Saltas’ homes. Yiayia Stella Saltas has a habit of doing everything earlier than most people. She arrives early when she goes out. Whenever she hosts a party, she preps and bakes before you’re even invited to whatever event it is. When it comes to kourabiedes, you can bet she is always ready to serve them at a moment’s notice. No matter the occasion or how many cookies are needed, there are always enough. Her basement was always so full of Tupperware-stuffed kourabiedes, I thought she was one of Santa’s elves. Whenever we visited yiayia’s …

Fanouropita (St. Fanourios Cake)

There are hundreds of saints in the Greek Orthodox Church that can be called upon for special purposes or during times of need. The three Hierarchs, St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Gregory the Theologian, are called upon for help in studies. I wish I had known that during my anatomy classes. Believers pray to St. Nicholas of Myra for safe travels. Instead of using Advil for a headache, they ask the Holy New Martyr Demas to intercede. There are saints we pray to for help in finding a job, getting pregnant, having a safe childbirth, and there are saints to help when we are in distress. Have you lost something and need help finding it? There’s a saint for that too. Saint Fanourious (from the Greek word fanerono meaning “to reveal”) intercedes to help us find lost possessions and to reveal life paths and goals. Like all Orthodox saints, Saint Fanourios has his own commemoration date each year. On August 27th, his name day, cooks bake a special cake in his honor …

The Greek Frappe

Water used to be the only fluid I needed to get me through the day. Then I went to Ionian Village and realized I needed something stronger than water. I needed a Greek FRAPPE. All day, every day. Ionian Village, a summer camp in Bartholomio, Greece, brings together over 40 staff members and hundreds of teen campers from across the United States, giving them an experience of a lifetime. Ionian Village strengthens faith, teaches Greek culture, creates epic memories, and even supplies coffee. I was a camper in 2008 and a staff member in back-to-back summers of 2013 and 2014. Serving as a staff member gave me the best experiences of all. It’s also when I drank the most frappes in my life. Staff members work two 20-day sessions from June to August. We cranked through lots of late nights and early mornings because it’s always on-the-go time. You can’t really call it work because eating Kyria Sophia’s delicious Greek food and supervising junkyard wars, music fests, and themed dance parties totally rocks. On travel …

Greek Chicken and Potatoes (Kota me Patates)

Motherhood: A lifetime of answering the question “what’s for dinner?” Or at least that’s my mom’s definition. I never realized how often my mom was questioned about what we would be eating until I started getting into cooking myself. Then, those same texts and calls came at me: “what’s for dinner?” In my house, the answer to that question more often than not is Greek chicken and potatoes (kota me patates). It’s a great fall back meal of ours and should be yours too. For starters, it’s a one-pot dish with easy prep work and cooking time is not unbearable. Second, it’s a filling meal that goes a long way, so you only need to add a Greek salad or any other favorite side dish of yours to go along with it. And finally (which should be reason enough to make this dish) is the satisfaction of seeing the faces of loved ones when you serve those perfect golden potatoes and crispy seasoned chicken. So what are you waiting for? There’s no reason to get …

My Big Fat Greek Exit

You’ve known me as “My Big Fat Greek Fanny” for over a year now, and I have appreciated all of the amazing support on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook (mostly from my Yiayia, the Facebook queen). I started “My Big Fat Greek Fanny” with the purpose of teaching people—especially Greeks—how to live a healthier and more balanced life in and out of the kitchen. I’ve shared many of my favorite Greek recipes, discussed the benefits of walking and other fitness tips, and I have even gotten personal about my life with an open letter about the importance of philautia (self-love). Now it’s time the “fanny” moved on. I promise it’s not you—it’s me. I’m Eleni Saltas. I’m a Greek girl with a flair for life, food, and fitness, and I want to fully embody that under my own name rather than a spin off of someone else’s effort. Follow along as I share even more Greek recipes, provide sustainable fitness tips and programs suitable for anyone, and begin a new writing series intended for women …

Pete’s Tzatziki

Go to your fridge right now and open it up. Do you have a bowl of TZATZIKI in there? If yes, pat yourself on the back. If you answered no, you are missing one of life’s great go-with-everything dips. Tzatziki (tsa-TZEE-kee) ranks as one of my favorite dips. Also known as “that white stuff,” you’ll find it smothered on gyros (pronounced YEE-rohs, not GY-rohs, please) and is made of thick Greek yogurt, fresh cucumbers and herbs—plus a generous amount of garlic that will sneak up on you whether you (and anyone near you for the next three days) like it or not. As much as I love eating tzatziki, I’m more of a tzatziki eater than maker because my brother, Pete, has dubbed himself the tzatziki king in our family. Pete won’t let anyone else make it. He won’t even let anyone watch him make it. He’s never shared his recipe with anyone until now. I basically had to start a blog and beg him for it with the promise to make him famous to …

Melitzanosalata (Eggplant Salad)

There are a few things you should know about melitzanosalata. First, it’s a mouthful to pronounce, as I’m sure you’ve already noticed. (It’s pronounced meh-lee-tza-no-sah-LAH-ta). Second, although melitzanosalata translates into “eggplant salad” it can also pass as a dip or a spread. Finally, melitzanosalata is not only simple to make, it’s healthy, too. Melitzanosalata is an effortless dish with very few ingredients. The main ingredient is, of course, the melitzana (eggplant). Typically, the eggplant (I prefer the big round variety) is charred over a flame to create that smokiness that’s characteristic of melitzanosalata. You can also bake the eggplant in the oven to achieve a similar result, but if you want that true smoky taste—fire up the grill. Like the majority of Greek dishes, garlic is key to making melitzanosalata. It shouldn’t be too overpowering, but should still produce enough kick to let you (and people around you) know it’s there. Extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh parsley are also added to the mix. Some recipes may stop there—but this melitzanosalata recipe calls …